Twitter users as gatekeepers of electronic word-of-mouth surrounding theatrical releases
Stevens, Stephanie Ann
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Using network gatekeeping and uses and gratifications theories, this research examines how Twitter users act as gatekeepers of electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) for their social networks. Two studies examine Twitter eWOM surrounding theatrical film releases. In study one, network analysis of pre- and post-release eWOM networks identified gatekeepers of movie eWOM. Content analysis of identified gatekeepers revealed Twitter accounts affiliated with media appeared as popular information sources more often than other users. Users disseminating information to different groups in the network were more likely to be media sources while users seeking information from different groups showed no differences in affiliation. In study two, a survey of college students explores motivations for seeking and forwarding information from gatekeepers identified in the network analysis. Respondents reported higher likelihoods to seek and share information from friends, family, and public figures than media and official film communicators. Information seeking and sharing motives are also explored.